Arsenal to face Man Utd for top 4 battle while City aim to extend lead

(Football news) It’s a clash between two old rivals, somewhat diluted by their perennial underachievement in the last few years but there’s a lot at stake when Arsenal welcome Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. A win or loss for either team could make or break their Champions League aspirations and both teams will approach the match with caution and solidity with what’s at stake.

The Gunners will be feeling supremely confident after their 4-2 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge while Manchester United will be downbeat after their 4-0 humiliation against Liverpool at Anfield. With Erik ten Hag announced as new Manchester United manager, the club’s plans for the next season are already in motion but results in the current season will dictate the competitions the team will participate in when the Dutch manager takes over. 

In team news, Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu might be on the bench for this fixture while Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney remain sidelined due to injury. Mohamed Elneny could join Granit Xhaka in midfield while Rob Holding could also retain his place despite a shaky performance in midweek. For Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo should be available for selection once again while Scott McTominay could feature in midfield, especially considering that Paul Pogba is injured. 

The likes of Luke Shaw, Edinson Cavani and Fred are also in the treatment room and will not feature in the match. However, Raphael Varane was pictured in training this week and could be available to start, especially considering how abysmal Manchester United’s defending was at Anfield. Despite the attacking prowess of Cristiano Ronaldo, the club’s defensive vulnerabilities mean that Arsenal are the favourites to win this fixture and improve their Champions League aspirations.

Meanwhile at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City will look to go four points clear of 2nd place Liverpool with a win over Watford. The Citizens won their last match 3-0 against Brighton while Watford succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Brentford. In team news, City are without Kyle Walker due to an ankle injury while John Stones and Nathan Ake are also unavailable after picking up knocks. Ruben Dias could be back in the starting XI after featuring on the bench in the last match but Pep Guardiola could rest some key players with a Champions League clash against Real Madrid on the horizon. Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko could also be back in the team for this must-win game.

As for Watford, Cucho Hernandez, Samuel Kalu and Francisco Sierralta are still unavailable for selection, but William Troost-Ekong has returned to training and should be available. The visitors should have a relatively straightforward starting XI with Emmanuel Dennis, Joao Pedro and Ismaila Sarr set to feature in the final third. Tom Cleverley and Joshua King are also hoping to break into the team but in all likelihood, Roy Hodgson will go with the same team that lost to Brentford. Anything but a win for Manchester City would be a shocking result in this fixture.

Also read: Manchester United appoint Erik ten Hag as new manager


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